Saturday, June 20, 2009


Arville on the park bridge near downtown Skopje

Arville wrote this story about his dad that he wanted me to post on our blog for this weekend. As I was typing the story he wrote, and then the next day looking for a new journal book to write in myself, I ran across another story and another Father's Day gift.

So I have included both Arville's story about his dad and the one I found in a journal from Father's Day 1997 --- that is the reason for the title: Two Father's Day Messages

The Storyteller by Arville

My dad enjoyed telling stories, and he was good at it. Most of the stories he told were factual (with an imaginary tale thrown in now and again just for fun). Even if we did not know all the characters in the stories, those of us who heard them were made to feel that we did. We felt as if we were right there - in the story itself - with all the dramatic and/or traumatic events that happened.

I remember that Dad made a cassette for our children one time while we lived in Africa, and Amy & Alan played the thing until they had it memorized. I guess that it was a good thing that they memorized it because they wore it out listening to it so many times. So his storytelling capabilities stretched all the way around the world.

Generally speaking, all the stories came out of real life experiences (including the stories that were embellished with imagination). The realism was there, and we could all identify with the situation and circumstances. I think this is a necessary quality for a good storyteller.

However, Dad was not one to boast about being especially gifted at weaving a tapestry of words. He never thought in those terms. He just like to tell these real-life stories --- perhaps that was what made him so good at it. Running through all the stories was a thread of character ... his character which expressed itself in a down-to-earth simplicity, a basic honesty and integrity and an aversion to deceit or disrespect for other people.

As I recall those stories from time to time, I hear his voice as if he were telling the stories all over again, and I have to smile. But something else that I remember from times past is that someone would say to me --- when I made a remark or shared one of my own stories --, "That sounds just like something your daddy would say". That always make me very proud.

Thanks, Dad, for all the stories and memories,

I (Shelia) found a journal that Amy and Christopher had given Arville on Father's Day in 1997. Just to refresh your memory, we were in the states on a "forced" home assignment because of the evacuation from Albania after an uprising in the country in March of that year. We made the decision to come to Macedonia during those summer months in 1997.


Background to this poem:

Now growing up, Arville obtained an unusual nickname -- another example of the storytelling that his family was used to. This nickname was that of a cartoon character by the name of Sut Tattersall. One of his uncles thought that if a caricature of Arville was drawn, he would look like this cartoon character.


The Journal

At the beginning of the journal, Amy wrote this poem for her dad:

This is a story that begins like this...

There was a little boy with his pole and his fish....
This little boy was as cute as could be - despite the fact that he had mud to his knees.
The world was enormous in the eyes of this boy,
The simplest pleasures brought him such joy.
The thrill of a root beer was as good as it got OR
coming home with a raccoon that he just caught.
He has made his family proud time and time again,
in the way he shows love and is a true friend.
His name is Arville Earl in the eyes of the law, but, round these parts, he's called
Arville's comments in the margin of the poem:

Amy will never know (except that now she will because I am printing it in our blog - HA!) quite what the poem represents to me. The meanings and emotions that it touches are at a level that defies verbal or written explanation. It will be one of my dearest treasure.


So see, Arville, I guess you are an example to your children in some of the same ways that your dad was an example for you. It seems to me that this character thread continues from one generation to the next in your family. I am so grateful that you made me part of that family - almost 40 years ago!!

I love you and wish you a very Happy Father's Day,



Amy B. said...

While I was reading this I was remembering all those funny stories that Granddaddy use to tell...about Grandma almost burning the house down and shooting a hole in the wall...or stories of chasing raccoons up trees and digging dogs out of mud holes. They were great stories. Now, I get to enjoy your great stories and watch my little children in wide eyed wonder as they listen to you. You are just as good of a story teller as your daddy, Dad. Thanks for sharing all of your joy, animation, and memories with us...just like Granddaddy did. He would be proud!

Happy Father's Day. I love you and am so proud that you are my father.

Dina @ Dinnie Wrinkles Design said...

While I was reading this the same as Amy...I was remembering how he told how Grandma was stuck on the roof and Grandday's story of jumping off of his burning ship. Like you said Uncle felt like you were right there. It always amazed me how such a quite man would bring such stories to life. I LOVED! Amy's poem. Thank you for sharing with us today. Happy Father's Day:)Dina